She is mine

We all know that mates can be pretty jealous creatures…in the human world, this results in all sorts of strife, like the Trojan War, for example.

The burning of Troy

The Burning of Troy by Johann Georg Trautmann, courtesy of Wikipedia

Outside of the human world, this is also a contentious issue.  I’ve talked about true monogamy before, but even without life time mating, animals want to ensure that their mating was successful and uninterrupted by a competitor.  Male dragonflies, for example, will often hold onto the female they’ve mated with until she lays her eggs as a way to guard her from other males.

Tandom linkage in bluets

Tandom linkage in bluets

But all of this intro was just meant to set the stage for this (relatively) recent cool discovery of a male parasitoid wasp (Ooencyrtus kuvanae) that is able to claim a female that he intends to mate with the future.  (Call ‘dibs’ if you will.)  To claim a female, the male wasp taps one of her antennae with one of his (probably transferring a pheromone that signals that she is taken).  Other males then avoid her and she avoids mating with any other male (Ablard et al 2013).

Interesting!  Humans should try this…tag!  You’re it!

PS. Reminds me of this song.

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2 thoughts on “She is mine

  1. Fascinating! So, are they working on figuring out how the tagging works? Does it actually prevent females from mating with other males, or is it still a choice for the female? Does the female choose to be tagged, or does the male do a quick grab and tag? I miss school! I need to go back!

    • All excellent questions! They haven’t identified the chemical yet but they think it is likely to be a pheromone transferred on contact. It probably doesn’t prevent her…just decrease the odds. The male chooses the females…he seeks out virgins!

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